Not everyone in Jamaica can be called ‘The Boss’, around Red Hills area in Kingston. That is where Chris Gayle lives in a palatial bungalow overlooking the city. The man lives life king size, and carries that air to the ground.
The scene of many towering Gayle sixes in the past, Eden Gardens has witnessed a relaxed version of him so far.
He was typically flamboyant in West Indies’ first warm-up match against India on Thursday. Facing a target of 186, Gayle knocked off 20 runs in six hits -- there were two singles -- before his stumps were upended by Jasprit Bumrah. Gayle ambled back nonchalantly and watched his side go down by 45 runs.
On Sunday, West Indies played another warm-up, against Australia. Gayle trained and fielded but when West Indies started the run chase, he didn’t come to bat. Since no one from West Indies came for the post-match media interaction, it wasn’t known if Gayle had any injury, although he didn’t show any discomfiture during practice.
Gayle trained elaborately, switching between two nets before settling for throw downs with a support staff feeding him balls just short of good length -- to practice shots off the rising ball. Gayle wore minimal protective gear -- a single pad. His fielding was erratic, and he sometimes stood at extra cover and was sometimes leaning on the side of the dugout.
However, the good news for West Indies was that they still won, despite a hat-trick by Aussie pacer Josh Hazlewood. It seemed to vindicate skipper Darren Sammy’s comment that his team has match-winners other than Gayle. But Gayle enjoys a leverage others don’t. After all, few players have two Test triple centuries against their name.